Public Policy Update from the State Bar of Michigan
December 8–14, 2008
Volume 6 Issue 50

In the Capitol
The Michigan House of Representatives and Senate will be in session on December 18 at 10:00 a.m.

Complete Committee Meeting List

New Public Acts

In the Hall of Justice
Proposed Amendments
2006-43–Proposed Amendment of Rule 2.112 of the Michigan Court Rules
This proposed amendment would clarify the rules regarding affidavits of merit as expressed in Kirkaldy v Rim, 478 Mich 581 (2007). It would establish a presumption of validity for an affidavit of merit upon filing and would require that a party challenge the sufficiency of an affidavit of merit before it can be determined to be deficient. If a court finds the affidavit deficient, the action would be dismissed. The party would then have the period of time remaining in the statutory limitations period in which to file a complaint with a conforming affidavit of merit.
Issued: December 9, 2008
Comment Period Expires: April 1, 2009
Public hearing: To be scheduled

2007-07–Proposed Amendment of Rule 2.112 of the Michigan Court Rules
This proposed amendment would clarify the rules regarding affidavits of merit as expressed in Kirkaldy v Rim, 478 Mich 581 (2007). It would establish a presumption of validity for an affidavit of merit upon filing and would require that a party challenge the sufficiency of an affidavit of merit before it can be determined to be deficient. If a court finds the affidavit deficient, the action would be dismissed. The party would then have the period of time remaining in the statutory limitations period in which to file a complaint with a conforming affidavit of merit.
Issued: December 9, 2008
Comment Period Expires: April 1, 2009
Public hearing: To be scheduled

2007-13–Proposed Amendment of Rule 611 of the Michigan Rules of Evidence
This proposed amendment would clarify that a judge is entitled to establish reasonable standards regarding the appearance of parties and witnesses to evaluate the demeanor of those individuals and to ensure accurate identification.
The proposal was suggested in response to a case in which a district judge was sued for dismissing a plaintiff's case following the plaintiff's refusal to remove her hijab during testimony. The plaintiff subsequently sued the district judge in federal court, alleging a violation under 42 USC 1983 (Muhammad v Paruk, 553 F Supp 2d 893 [ED Mich, 2008]). The federal court declined to exercise jurisdiction and dismissed the case, which has since been appealed. In declining to exercise jurisdiction, the federal court noted that state court review "would have avoided many of the federalism concerns" cited by the court, which prompted consideration of this proposal by the Michigan Supreme Court.
Issued: December 9, 2008
Comment Period Expires: April 1, 2009
Public hearing: To be scheduled

Other Actions
2008-01—Appointment of Chief Judge of the 11th Judicial Circuit Court (Alger, Schoolcraft, Luce,
and Mackinac Counties)

2008-01—Appointment of Chief Judge of the 3A Judicial District Court (Branch County)

2008-01—Appointment of Chief Judge of the 15th Judicial Circuit Court (Branch County)

2008-01—Appointment of Chief Judge of the 4th Judicial District Court (Cass County)

2008-01—Appointment of Chief Judge of the 73A Judicial District Court (Sanilac County)

2008-01—Appointment of Chief Judge of the 80th Judicial District Court (Clark and Gladwin Counties)

2008-01—Appointment of Chief Judge of the 95B Judicial District Court (Dickinson and Iron Counties)

2008-01—Appointment of Chief Judge of the 91st Judicial District Court (Chippewa County)

2008-01—Appointment of Chief Judge of the 89th Judicial District Court (Cheboygan and Presque Isle Counties)

2008-01—Appointment of Chief Judge of the 97th Judicial District Court (Houghton, Baraga, and Keweenaw Counties)

2008-01—Appointment of Chief Judge of the 26th Judicial Circuit Court (Alpena and Montmorency Counties)

2008-01—Appointment of Chief Judge of the 65B Judicial District Court (Gratiot County)

At the Bar
Judicial Vacancy—Houghton County Probate Court
Hon. Charles R. Goodman is vacating his seat on the Houghton County Probate Court. State Bar members interested in applying for the judgeship should submit an application by January 9, 2009.
View Information

SBM Dedicates 33rd Michigan Legal Milestone on "Poletown and Eminent Domain"

Sections and Committees
The Animal Law Section submitted the following Public Policy report:
Support: HB 4552 (Byrnes) Crimes; animals; penalties for animal cruelty; revise to allow consecutive sentencing. Amends sec. 50b of 1931 PA 328 (MCL 750.50b).

The Appellate Practice Section submitted the following Public Policy report:
Support: 2008-24–Proposed Amendment of Rule 2.614 of the Michigan Court Rules
The proposed amendments of MCR 2.614 are intended to make the rule consistent with recent amendments of MCR 2.119, 7.204, and 7.205, adopted May 28, 2008, and effective September 1, 2008, which clarified that a party who seeks to appeal to the Court of Appeals has 21 days after the entry of an order deciding a motion for new trial, a motion for rehearing or reconsideration, or a motion for other relief from the order or judgment appealed, to file a claim of appeal or an application for leave to appeal, if the motion is filed within the initial 21-day appeal period, or within further time the trial court has allowed for good cause during that 21-day period.

The Real Property Law Section submitted the following Public Policy report:
Oppose: HB 6122 (Bieda) Taxation; state real estate transfer; definitions, transfers, and payment of tax procedure; modify. Amends secs. 2, 3, 6 & 12 of 1993 PA 330 (MCL 207.522 et seq.).

The Real Property Law Section also submitted an amicus brief in the case of Agripost, LLC v. Miami-Dade County Florida.

State News
Lawmakers Sign Off on Closure of Two Prisons
(Lansing State Journal, 12/11/08)

Links of Interest
Public Policy Resource Center | Michigan Supreme Court | Michigan Legislature | MCL Search Engines